The above woman is an Afar, which is an ethnic group found in the Horn of Africa. Notice that she is tattooed along her cheeks, nose, between her brows and along her chine and jawline. Tattoos, scarification, Afars do a few forms of body altercation. It’s cultural for them. But tattoos are a very widespread thing amongst many human ethic groups in many geographical reasons. From the facial tattoos named ‘moko’ sported by the Maori men of New Zealand to the facial and body markings once worn by women in various Imazeghn ethnic groups, tattoos are a large part of many cultures. But why? Why do we place substances under our skin to create art? Well there’s many theories; most are influenced by when individuals usually get tattoos in most cultures which is around the age of adolescence and has to do with some form of right of passage. Other’s do it because they believe that specific tattoos have a spiritual protection or meaning; like those worn by Imazeghn women in the past. Some people debate whether today they’re even necessary since we live longer than we once did and rites of passage aren’t as common or important to our societies (at least in globalized societies) as they once were in the past. Tattoos could have first arisen for various reasons, various independent reasons at that. They could’ve in fact been in some cultures as they mostly are today, symbols of body art. There is also other reasons like those which are associated with social affiliation like those of the Makonde who actually once used tattoos to symbolize their tribal affiliations. So tattoos are more than just marks for rite of passage or social affiliation; tattoos are our own way of telling our story without words.